Date Posted... Mar 3rd 2023

Attachments to Cornwall

Lower Sixth psychologists put their questionnaire designing skills to the test this week, applying their knowledge of attachment types to their own research, finding out what Sixth Form students at Truro School felt about attachment to Cornwall. They asked 8 questions from which they analysed attachment types:

  • Securely attached to Cornwall (home base, don’t mind going away, but love to come back and miss it a bit when away)
  • Insecure-avoidant attachment to Cornwall (look forward to leaving, don’t miss Cornwall when away)
  • Insecure-resistant attachment to Cornwall (love Cornwall so much they feel homesick and displaced when not in the county)

66 Truro School Sixth Form students responded to the questionnaire.

39 people had lived here 10+ years; half were securely attached and half insecure-avoidant, with only 1 person being insecure-resistant. 1/3 of the other 27 people, who’d lived in Cornwall for less than 10 years, were securely attached to Cornwall whereas 2/3 were classified as insecure-avoidant.

This seems to show that more securely attached students tend to have grown up in Cornwall. However, many students were securely attached who hadn’t, showing the strength of feeling for our county. A significant number also showed insecure-avoidant attachment, indicating that they are looking forward to moving on to new things and new places. This shows that they are positive about university and life beyond Cornwall.

A final question was asked, “What does it mean to be Cornish?”. Chloe, an Upper Sixth psychology student practised her thematic analysis skills in summarising the varied responses to this question:

There were 6 themes:

1) Personal heritage and emotion linked to Cornwall [my home, pride, community, lived and grown up in Cornwall, born here, distinctive heritage, emotional when hearing “This is my Cornwall”, will never forget Cornwall, knowing people and places, very important, identity in Cornwall]
One student responded with their own poem:
“I live, breathe and sleep, dream of Cornwall.
I feel the Kernow in my blood,
When I cross that Tamar I feel heart-wrench.
I believe in the independence and strength of Cornwall.
I will never leave.”

2) Heritage and traditions of Cornwall [pasties, scones with jam then cream, surfing, rugby, mining, tea drinking, slow pace of life, other traditions]

3) Geography of Cornwall [beach, weather & rain, seagulls, rural, coast, a beautiful place]

4) Language used in Cornwall [emmets, accent, “my lover”, “my superstar”, lingo]

5) Dislike of outsiders [emmets, xenophobic, anywhere past Devon is up north]

6) Inability to answer the question because “I’m not Cornish”. This implies that an understanding of what it means to be Cornish is something deeply personal and varied between people, to the extent that someone who feels they aren’t Cornish sometimes can’t explain what being Cornish is.

Thanks to Jack, Lola, Diana, Ben, Toby, Henry and Chloe for giving up their time to analyse a large quantity of data. And thanks to the 66 students who took their time responding to our questionnaire.